Apparently the government in the form of Ruth Kelly is planning "a big increase in access to 'personal travel plans' after trials showed huge decreases in car travel for only a few million pounds of public spending. Under the scheme, households and other organisations are offered personal advice, including a home visit, during which an expert analyses what journeys are made by car and how some could be replaced by other means."
As an aim this is to be lauded although I somehow doubt the cost effectiveness and long term benefit of such a scheme without a real focus on and investment in tow other key factors.
Firstly money needs to be invested in good, clean, regular and reliable public transport. The example which I gave a month ago of our local station at Aldermaston is a good one. As I said then "On a Sunday as the trains wend their merry way from Newbury To Reading and back again try guessing how many trains stop at Aldermaston. Yes you guessed it a grand total of zero. Slow trains go up and down and stop elsewhere but not here." Just how much extra would it cost to get these trains to stop? Very little I suspect.
Secondly I suspect that a far greater return on investment could be achieved through working with employers to see how technology to could be best used to enable a significant number of employees to work from home for part or all of the week. Personal experience would seem to indicate that the worst times to travel on the motorway network in this country are Monday morning, Friday afternoon and Sunday evening. At least two of these three could be addressed through and increase in home working.